CFIA widens plum pox net in Niagara region

The quarantine area is now slightly larger in southern Ontario’s Niagara region where tender fruit trees are still considered at risk for the yield-robbing plum pox virus.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency announced Tuesday it has expanded its regulated area for plum pox virus by 800 metres. The expansion is in response to a confirmed finding of the disease just 900 metres inside the western edge of the previous regulated area.

It’s prohibited to move “potentially infested material,” including infected wood and nursery stock — but not including fresh fruit — out of regulated areas. The virus is transmitted from infected trees by aphids, or by grafting and budding.

Plum pox virus, which can cause serious yield losses in stone fruit crops such as peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots and almonds, is considered a “serious threat” to Canada’s tender fruit, fruit processing and nursery industries.

The virus, first detected in Nova Scotia and Ontario in 2000, has since been eradicated from Nova Scotia and hasn’t been found in other tender fruit-growing provinces such as British Columbia or Quebec.

CFIA said Tuesday the recent case in question is the first positive to be confirmed as part of CFIA’s current plum pox monitoring and management program, as set up in 2011. [Related story]

The regulated area’s expansion is meant “to better prevent the spread of the plant disease and protect the area’s tender fruit trees and industry,” CFIA said.

Plum pox virus can only be eradicated by removing or destroying infected trees, roots included, by burning and chipping. No chemical treatment is available. — Network

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